Liberal leadership crisis: WA MP Julie Bishop to run for top job

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will have to watch his back after Peter Dutton announced he is working on

"I can not underline too much how important it is anyone who seeks to be the Prime Minister of Australia is eligible to be in Parliament", Mr Turnbull said. Turnbull initiated the ballot in the hope of ending speculation that his government had lost faith in him in the face of poor opinion polling.

"It's with great sadness and a heavy heart that we went to see the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon to advise him that in our judgement he no longer enjoyed the support of the majority of members in the Liberal Party party room", Cormann told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Such a pending court case could scare lawmakers away from supporting Dutton in a leadership ballot.

Turnbull was hit early on Thursday morning by the defection of senior players, including the finance minister, Mathias Cormann - which is a body blow for the prime minister.

Labor used Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday to ask seven of the nine Cabinet ministers who voted for Mr Dutton whether they still supported Mr Turnbull.

"I can't ignore the fact that a majority of colleagues in the Liberal Party. are of the view that there should be a change", he said.

"I was disappointed when I discovered that [Peter Dutton] had not supported the apology to the Stolen Generation", Mr Wyatt told 6PR radio today.

With serious doubt over his constitutional eligibility to sit in parliament, Dutton released legal advice that he had sought past year.

This comes after Australia's House of Representatives has been adjourned by the government amid a battle over the Liberal leadership, with Bill Shorten arguing the coalition is "irreparably split" and should hang their heads in shame.

Mr Dutton asserted that Mr Turnbull had lost a majority of colleagues' support.

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He also goaded the Dutton camp to produce their numbers on a petition if they wanted to terminate his prime ministership.

No Australian prime minister in the past decade has lasted a full three-year term before being dumped by his or her own party.

"I can't ignore reality", Mr Cormann said as he announced he was withdrawing support for Mr Turnbull, adding that five other ministers who voted for Mr Turnbull on Tuesday had told him they were changing sides.

With the Liberal party leadership in disarray, the government suspended the lower house of parliament until September 10.

Local media reported that Mr Dutton could face an additional rival - Treasurer Scott Morrison - if Mr Turnbull made a decision to step aside. Some constitutional lawyers say there are areas of doubt.

Despite Mr Turnbull offering an olive branch, further political instability is all but guaranteed in the final two days Parliament sits before it breaks until September. Government lawyers are investigating his case to see if there were issues for the High Court to determine.

In a surprise vote of ruling lawmakers Tuesday, Turnbull defeated Dutton by 48 votes to 35.

Current leader Malcolm Turnbull in on the right.

The revolving political door has angered and frustrated voters and the business sector.

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